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When Not To Tip

The one act that voids your obligation to provide a gratuity

By Walter RheinPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

The suggestion that you shouldn’t tip is the kind of provocative click-bait headline that gets people all riled up. Individuals in the service injury work hard and are paid slave wages. Tips are the only way some people in those jobs can make a living. So you should always tip to ensure that restaurant and bar owners everywhere can continue to reap in huge profit with essentially free labor.

Oh, and just so you know, it’s legal to pay servers less than minimum wage. Yes, there is some confusion about this.

Perhaps a better solution to tip culture would be legislation to guarantee people working in these industries are paid adequately? As it stands right now, waiters are at the mercy of customers who might simply refuse to compensate them for their labor. That hardly seems fair does it?

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

But just as it is wrong not to tip a legitimately hard working server, it’s also wrong to infringe on tip culture where it doesn’t belong. A lot of businesses add the tip option to their receipts, and they even go so far as to do the math for you. All you have to do is sign.

Now, I appreciate the concept at a restaurant. But not at an auto parts store. Please, if your industry doesn’t historically require a tip, don’t try to muscle in. If you want more justice for the working class, advocate for medicare for all, in the long run the health care industry is going to get all your money anyway.

Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash

Even within the food service industry there are some gray areas. At McDonald’s, for example, the customer walks up to the register, makes the order, waits, and then brings the food to his or her table. In that case, the customer is really the one who deserves a tip. McDonald’s seems to know this and they rarely include the tip option on their receipts.

Domino’s, however, does have the tip option, even for people who come in for carry-out. You call in the pizza, go to the restaurant, pick up the pizza, and then they ask you for a tip. Okay, fine, you can have a buck, but this isn’t a 20% scenario.

Photo by Sepet on Unsplash

The general rule is that you always leave a tip. Even if the server screwed up the order. Even if the food is raw, even if the waiter or waitress stabs you in the neck with a pencil.

Leave a tip!

My uncle is the kind of guy who sometimes takes people out on expensive business lunches. On one occasion he paid for a $245 bill with three $100 notes. This was one of those restaurants where they give you your change in a neat leather wallet.

The wallet came with 5 one dollar bills.

“Um, my change is $50 short.”

“Oh, I’m sorry sir,” said the befuddled waiter, and instantly handed him a $50 bill.

Out of habit, my uncle took the 5s and laid down the 50 as a tip. It was only later when he was recounting the story that he regretted the action.

“The waiter knew the change was short,” he said, “that’s why he had the money ready. I shouldn’t have tipped him.”

Photo by Dmitry Demidko on Unsplash

Getting short changed is the only scenario where you should at least stop and consider whether to leave a tip. However, it’s easy to be sympathetic to a server even in that situation.

Most of the time it's probably an honest mistake, and if the restaurant is busy it's best to give your server the benefit of the doubt.

Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

The argument is that prices would go up if servers were adequately paid and the service industry would suffer. However, how can that be the case? Any increase in price would be offset by a reduction in tipping cost. It sounds like another one of those idiotic arguments designed to keep people living in poverty.

It’s funny how poverty seems to follow social structures that rely on generosity rather than an agency that forces citizens to do the right thing.

At the end of the day, you should always leave a tip because it’s the right thing to do. You can start by clicking on the tip button at the bottom of this article :).

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


About the Creator

Walter Rhein

I'm a small press novelist. Shoot me an email if you want to discuss writing in any capacity, or head over to my web page www.streetsoflima.com. [email protected]

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